Parisian couturier, Lloyd Klein, began as a student of architecture. Impacted by attending a Givenchy Haute Couture runway in his early twenties, he initiated a passionate self-study of the great fashion designers of Europe and the United States. By 1994, he presented his first Lloyd Klein Spring Summer collection on the elegant stage of Paris’ Opera Comique and was designated as the Director of Costume that same year. The following season, at 23 years old, he gained notoriety with his opportune appointment as Head Designer for the exclusive Maison Mme. Grés.
After his five-season tenure at Grés, he chose to terminate his contract, to focus exclusively on his namesake House of Couture. Place Vendome Creative Headquarters and Lloyd Klein Ateliers continue to remain in Paris while Business Headquarters became established in the United States in 1999.
The collections have gained the attention of fashion stylists and celebrities from coast to coast. Halle Berry, Kate Beckinsale, Christina Aguilera, Renee Zellweger, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, Whitney Houston and Eve are just a few of the boldface names recently seen wearing Lloyd Klein on the red carpet, magazine covers and in editorial layouts. The Daily referred to him as the “new Klein in town” in September 2003. The New York Post penned him as “genius” and CBS News referred to him as “the one to watch into the new millennium”
FACTIO MAGAZINE: What are you most looking forward to during San Francisco International Fashion Week? LLOYD KLEIN: I’m very excited to meet the people of San Francisco. To me, the people tell the story of the city by their sense of style and attitude. Every major city has its own direction. I love Los Angeles and adore Milano for the way that women take control of their own fashion sense. I am hoping to be knocked out by San Francisco.
FM: Describe your signature style. LK: I love the feeling of opposites. Masculine Femininity and Feminine Masculinity. It’s not at all a cliché, for me it is an aesthetic that has been with me since childhood. I love the eccentricity of extravagant simplicity. For example, I love to use ultra deluxe material in a simple design with understated volume or to use meters and meters of everyday toile in a voluminous evening gown.
FM: What does global style mean to you? LK: To be able to have your own sense of style no matter where you go and with whom you visit and to be comfortable in your own skin.
FM: Give us an inside look at your career as a fashion designer. LK: I stumbled into fashion as a student of architecture. I was invited to accompany an actress to a showing of Monsieur Givenchy’s Haute Couture runway in the early 90’s and I immediately recognized a way to take my interest in structure and continue with a sense of fluidity that we find in fabric. Early on in my career I was selected to take over as Head of Design at the prestigious House of Madame Grès in Paris. This experience still influences the way I do everything. I had the opportunity to be mentored by the legendary Madame Grès and I still have a spiritual connection with her.
FM: Which woman and man (past or present) has impeccable style and why (on an international level)? What women and men in which city
worldwide have the best style? LK: For me, the most impeccable style maker was Madame Grès, I guess I am and always will be her greatest admirer. I love the fashion sense of Los Angeles, because the girls there seem to have their own sense of fashion direction and they love to be dressed from morning till night in a very groomed and contemporary way. The women of Italy though, for me, are maybe the best dressed and mostly chic.
FM: What is your biggest fashion vice? LK: I love watches and have a really interesting personal collection. Good accessories are extremely important.
FM: What are your favorite shops worldwide? (any specifics in San Francisco? How about Paris?) LK: My favorite is my own store which I am opening in Los Angeles sometime in the next month or so. We were planning to open by September but I am a perfectionist and demand that it is flawless before even one of my customers enters the front door. I have created a bonifide Parisian salon that you might encounter in the glamorous days of the 1930’s. My idea is to offer a sanctuary from the casualness that we see everywhere. I love the idea that a woman will want to get her hair coiffed before she comes to visit our House.
FM: What are your favorite places to travel? And, what are you always on the hunt for to add to your wardrobe when at a new destination? LK: I love places that have sun! I am always excited to travel to places that are new to me…and I am always traveling it seems. These past years I am on a plane almost every two weeks. Next stop San Francisco!
FM: Do you think money and style go hand in hand or can style never be bought? Is it something you just have? LK: Style is intrinsic and can be cultivated as a youngster. Money makes everything easier but money does not create style, it simply affords someone with the ability to invest in the right tools. However, style can be as simple as the way you choose to dine. A tuna sandwich on a beautiful plate, linen napkins and polished silver with a gorgeous tablecloth has much more style than eating in your car with a paper napkin. I learned early on, to enjoy the moment, I think that is extremely stylish.
FM: What key fashion pieces do you always have in your wardrobe? LK: Beautifully fit jeans, impeccable shoes and crisp clean shirts and not a single necktie.
FM: Do you have any style icons? LK: I loved Nan Kempner for her sense of collection, I adored Audrey Hepburn for her sense of graciousness and I am impressed by Angelina Jolie for her sense of world community and responsibility. I am doing an event to benefit my friend, Sheila E’s “Elevate Hope Foundation” on February 26 th in Los Angeles and we are giving Mademoiselle Jolie an award for her choices in supporting the health and well being of our children.
FM: What would people be most surprised to know about you? LK: I have no idea since I don’t know what they know about me already.
FM: What tips would you give to people in general to be well rounded, balancing out life and a flourishing career? LK: Love yourself and your family which will draw true friends into your life, and don’t listen to negative people. Take time to follow your instinctual passions.
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